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Spotlight on 2020 WREAA Scholarship Recipients

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, June 11, 2020


Alex Guindon (BBA 2021) is a recipient of the WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship.  He is majoring in both Real Estate and Finance Investment and Banking.  Alex, who is a graduate of Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wisconsin, has served on the Real Estate Club Executive Board since 2019, most recently as the Career Fair Coordinator.  He enjoys winter sports and is a member of the Hoofer’s Ski and Snowboard Club. Alex is currently working with PGIM Real Estate in Chicago as a Summer Investment Analyst Intern.


Trevor Holtz (BBA 2021), who hails from Mosinee, Wisconsin, is a recipient of the WREAA Undergraduate Scholarship.  He is majoring in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics with a certificate in sustainability.  Trevor is a member of the Real Estate Club, the Society of Personal Investments, and the Wealth Management Group.  In addition to his real estate interests, Trevor is passionate about environmental and social issues.  He co-founded the Social and Environmental Business Advocates and founded the Wisconsin Student Climate Action Coalition student groups on campus.  Trevor’s future plans include creating a sustainable and affordable housing firm.

The recipient of the WREAA Graduate Scholarship, Roman Orozov (MBA 2022), is an incoming MBA student originally from Bulgaria.  He is a 2019 graduate of North Park University in Chicago where he received a B.S. in Business and Economics. Roman is currently working for ICM Properties in Chicago as a leasing agent.  His long-term goal career is to start a residential real estate company which will use 3d-printing to build affordable housing in areas severely affected by the housing crisis. He enjoys reading, skiing, and hiking in his spare time.

Caroline Schreiner (BBA 2021) is the selected recipient of the 2020 Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Scholarship Award.  Caroline, who is majoring in Real Estate and Marketing, is originally from Brookfield, Wisconsin.  She is incredibly active on campus, belonging to both the Real Estate Club and WIRE (Women in Real Estate), serving on the UW Homecoming Committee Marketing Team and as the Vice President of Pi Beta Phi.  Caroline also fills the roles of Children’s Ministry Leader at Blackhawk Church and Event Services Intern for the Wisconsin School of Business.  This summer Caroline is working in Milwaukee as a Commercial Real Estate Intern with Colliers International.

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2009 Alums Share Experience with New Grads

Posted By Paige Riemann, Thursday, May 21, 2020



Although graduation is a time of celebration, it can also be a stressful time for many students, especially now, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. WREAA recently hosted a webinar titled “When a Market Crisis Interrupts your Career Plan” with panelists who graduated during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The panel was moderated by Katie Bergen (BBA 2009), Senior Director at EverWest Real Estate Investors, and was an opportunity for students and recent graduates to receive advice from those who also graduated in a time of uncertainty. The panel consisted of Megan May (BBA 2009), Senior Associate in Real Estate Equity at Allstate Investments, Tim Bruss (MBA 2009), Director of Asset Management at Hamilton Zanze, Michael Mazur (BBA 2009), Head of Business Development for American Postal Infrastructure, and Andy Evans (MBA 2020), current UW graduate student who also graduated from undergrad during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.


In 2009, only 42% of Wisconsin undergraduates graduated with job opportunities, though some offers were eventually rescinded.  For comparison, 62% of May 2019 Real Estate grads who were seeking employment had accepted a job offer prior to graduation. The panel talked about their job search experience and the discouragement of attending a seemingly prospect-less career fair. Michael Mazur shared that the pre-graduation offer he received was rescinded. This resulted in a pivot to a career he had not planned on, making him a more well-rounded individual in the end. The panel members learned that during the 2009 financial crisis, it was important to be patient and flexible.  They encouraged current students to be open to searching for jobs outside of their preferred specialization or geographic location.


Tim Bruss found a post-graduation internship through a Wisconsin alumnus he met while on the San Francisco Real Estate Club Trip. Tim and the other panelists emphasized that now is the time to make UW alumni connections. The panel agreed that in times like this, people want to help others when they can. They advised graduates to look at networking as a fulltime job and to use the WREAA Directory to reach out to others. Even if alums can’t connect a new or recent grad with a job opportunity right now, there is something that can be learned from every phone call.


Despite the uncertainty, the panel remains optimistic about the future. Megan May predicts it will be a shorter recovery than in the Great Recession and Michael Mazur stated he is already surprised at how quickly the stock market seems to be recovering. The panel told students and recent graduates to keep their heads up!


Thank you to Katie Bergen, Megan May, Tim Bruss, Michael Mazur, and Andy Evans for taking the time to share their advice and words of encouragement to our students and recent graduates. We know it will help as they embark on finding a career after graduation.



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Principal and Founder of CRE Recruiting, Allison Weiss, Presents at Virtual UW REC Meeting

Posted By Paige Riemann, Thursday, April 30, 2020


Even though the Real Estate Club cannot meet for the rest of the semester due to COVID-19, they were able to get together last Thursday for a webinar on Zoom. On the call, Allison Weiss, Principal and Founder for CRE Recruiting spoke with the Club. Ms. Weiss has over 10 years of experience, and in 2019 she started CRE Recruiting, a firm that specializes in commercial real estate placement. She shared information on the current commercial real estate job market and advice for students who are seeking jobs.


Ms. Weiss started by sharing statistics on the labor market. One surprising statistic is that between March 15, 2020 and April 16, 2020 over 22 million Americans were unemployed. For some perspective, she stated there were about 22.8 million job gains made since the financial crisis in 2008-2009. She added that CBRE’s The Weekly Take predicts it will take anywhere between 24-30 months to recover. As of now, it is unclear how the real estate job market will be affected. Currently CRE Recruiting is conducting a survey of the industry to find more information. Please consider taking the survey if you are a real estate professional or student, it can be found here.  


She predicts that COVID-19 will greatly affect the office space market. Some people will continue to work from home, which will result in companies looking for smaller footprints in office space. She also thinks there will be a huge emphasis on hygienic spaces in the workplace and an increased role in technology moving forward.


When talking with the students about how to proceed in searching for jobs, she emphasized the importance of goal setting. She described the benefits of having both short term (30 days, 60 days) and long term (1 year, 3 year, 10 year) goals that reflect your core values. She used the term "mind the gap" to describe being mindful of your weaknesses when chasing your goals. She told the group to check into free online training to improve upon needed real estate skills.


With the current uncertainty, Ms. Weiss explained the importance of building relationships virtually. She first stressed the usefulness of a LinkedIn account. While it is easy to get in the pattern of just scrolling on LinkedIn, Ms. Weiss recommends setting goals on LinkedIn to make the most of your time. For example, setting a goal of posting once a week, making three connections, and commenting on two posts.  She said that it is important to look at how every connection can be mutually beneficial.


When searching for a job, it is important to differentiate yourself. She advised students to ask great questions, be positive, add value, and creatively use media. Another way to set yourself apart is to be aware of what is going on in the world. Her tip is to set up Google alerts for the topics that interest you the most. With school, it can be difficult to find the time to job search, so she suggested booking the time into your schedule. She also explained the value of having an accountability partner or recruiter.


Lastly, she talked about the importance of utilizing an alumni network. She recommended scheduling virtual coffee dates to stay in contact with alumni. She also suggested that one of the best ways to make the most of your alumni network is to be a leader and to volunteer to plan upcoming events.


Many thanks to Ms. Weiss for sharing her expertise on the current job market and providing job search tips to the Real Estate Club students. Especially in this time of uncertainty, her advice resonated with many members of the REC. The quote from actor Gregory Peck that she shared in her presentation, also provided hope: “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do”.


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Congratulations to Willy Walker of Walker & Dunlop for receiving the Real Estate Club's 2020 Innovator Award!

Posted By Paige Riemann, Monday, March 30, 2020



The UW Real Estate Club presented Willy Walker, Chairman and CEO of Walker & Dunlop, with the 2020 Innovator Award at their last meeting. The Innovator Award highlights individuals who exemplify the programs focus on innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and inspiring others. For more information on the history of the Innovator Award please click here.


Mike Brennan, Executive Director of the Graaskamp Center, Patrick Dempsey (MS 1988), Senior Vice President of Walker & Dunlop, and Jim Cope (MS 1989), Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Walker & Dunlop, presented the award to Mr. Walker. He then spoke to the Real Estate Club to discuss leadership and how he turned a family business into a commercial real estate finance powerhouse.


Mr. Walker began by describing his path to becoming Chairman and CEO of Walker & Dunlop. He imparted a very important lesson he learned about how to recognize if you are a leader, a doer, or a thinker. He said that it is important for students to recognize who they are and follow where their skills and strengths will take them. Mr. Walker went on to recount his experiences as a young man, including his time in Paraguay in the late 80’s where he headed a foundation for small loans to micro entrepreneurs. He went on to start a small airline in South America. It was through these experiences that he discovered that you learn from every single job you have. He counseled students that no matter where you are in your career trajectory, even if you don’t like what you are doing, you can learn from it.


Next, Mr. Walker related the importance he places on mentorship, and explained the imprint that his mentor, Jack Hennessey, has had on his career and life. He shared with the group a quote of Mr. Hennessey’s, “Get as many scars as quickly as possible” (1995). Mr. Walker believes this quote embodies innovation, because with innovation there will be risk, success, and failure along the way and that is okay. He advised students to try to find a job with a company that cares about mentorship and supports employees taking risk.


Eventually, Mr. Walker joined his family’s company, Walker & Dunlop. He began with the company in 2003 when they had one office with 43 employees. Since then, Walker & Dunlop was named #17 on Fortune’s 2017 list of “Fastest Growing Public Companies”, has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has grown by almost 800% since its IPO,  Mr. Walker indicated that the capital from the IPO helped tremendously with growing Walker & Dunlop into what it is today. Now the company has over 40 offices across the country and 800 employees.


He described to the Real Estate Club the amount of tenacity and hard work that goes into running a company, and how vital it is to have a great team. He aims to create a culture at Walker & Dunlop that encourages employees to reach their potential and wants them to know how much he cares about them. Mr. Walker takes pride that his company has been awarded Best Workplace by Fortune Magazine, 5 out of the last 6 years.


Mr. Walker pointed out the complications that can occur when with working with family,  sharing a personal story about what caused him to reevaluate and make his family a bigger part of his life. He concluded by divulging his number one piece of advice; take care of yourself. He says that he prioritizes doing something active every single day, and he encourages others to do the same. Fitness is a huge part of Mr. Walker’s life, he is a skier, cyclist, and has even participated in the Boston Marathon.


Walker & Dunlop is a 75-year-old company, but Mr. Walker’s innovation is what raised this family company to the next level, making him the perfect recipient of the 2020 Innovator Award. Thank you to Mr. Walker for sharing the lessons you learned and inspiring all with your entrepreneurial spirit.

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Spring 2020 WREAA Update

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Wednesday, March 18, 2020


A Message from WREAA President

Jim Roemer (BBA 1987)

Dear Fellow Alumni and Friends,

A week or so ago as I sat down to write this letter and Milwaukee was enjoying its first 60 degree day in months, Christian Yelich had just signed a contract extension that pretty much makes him a Brewer for life, and Greg Gard and his resilient Badgers had accomplished the improbable and secured the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tourney, my worldview, probably like yours, was far different than it is today.  

Today Coronavirus, related market madness, and uncertainty dominate the news and color our view of reality and expectations for the future.  They will likely continue to do so until our collective effort to combat the virus has achieved a good measure of success and is leading us back toward normalcy.  I believe we will get there, together, and am therefore determined to remain optimistic in the days ahead.  I hope you will too.  Our families, coworkers, friends, and neighbors will be the better for it!

In the spirit of looking forward, optimistically, let me share with you some of the recent successes and promising initiatives and events of our alumni association and our favorite real estate program.  Please read on.  

Last September co-chairs Michael Zelin and Jaime Fink teamed with Chris Dicks and our WREAA staff to deliver a hugely successful Trends Conference in Chicago.  Record attendance affirmed that A) we continue to deliver strong content and productive opportunities to reconnect and network and B) the Program and our industry are in good shape.


  • Plans for our September Biennial in Madison are coming together nicely.
  • Keynote speakers Richard Barkham (CBRE global economist) and Marcus Lemonis (The Profit) will share their impactful economic and business perspectives. 
  • Ed St. John of Baltimore-based and 2018 NAIOP Developer of the Year, St. John Properties will accept the Wisconsin Award. 
  • Principals of the Bascom Group, who are celebrating 25 years in business, are excited to join us to accept the Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Panels are being assembled to discuss A) the effect of climate change on commercial real estate, B) big data and tech in commercial real estate, C) outside investors’ perspective on commercial real estate, and D) workforce and affordable housing. And for some fun, nationally acclaimed political satirists The Capitol Steps will perform after dinner on Thursday night.


Don’t delay in registering for the Biennial.  We welcomed a record 550+ alumni and friends in 2018;  we look forward to equal or greater attendance this year!

PE Fund
As Department Chair Tim Riddiough and the Graaskamp Center’s Mark Eppli, Greg Reed, and Mike Brennan work to boost graduate enrollment and build the academic structure and curriculum for the PE track of the MS that is to kick off this fall, WREAA is simultaneously creating the PE fund that will enable our students to apply in a very real way what they are learning inside Grainger.


  • With excellent counsel provided by Milwaukee’s Reinhart Boerner, we are close to finishing the fund limited partnership agreement, subscription agreement, and private placement memo.
  • We have reached agreement in principal for a partnership with CliftonLarsonAllen (“CLA”) whereby CLA will provide discounted fund accounting and advisory services in exchange for the benefits of WREAA membership and exposure.  Importantly, we and CLA both believe that the synergies, connectivity, and work product delivered by our partnership will benefit not only ourselves, the Program, and our students, but also ultimately other academic departments in the School of Business and their students (accounting and marketing readily come to mind) and even the UW itself.
  • We have identified 5 individuals who will comprise the fund general partner’s board when elected by the WREAA board.
  • We have begun assembling what we expect to be a 7 to 9-person fund investment committee.  This committee will be elected by the fund general partner board.
  • Before long we will begin offering investments in the fund to accredited investors.

Executive Committee
At our late-March meeting in Miami, the board elected the following directors to serve on the executive committee for 2-year terms beginning in September:

  • Cody Langeness of Red Stone Partners (President)
  • Michael Zelin of Cushman & Wakefield (Vice President – Finance)
  • Katie Bergen of Everwest Real Estate Partners (Vice President – Programs)

Continuing Our Mission
WREAA is accomplishing great things for the Program, our students, and our members!

  • Our work to create the PE fund evidences our commitment to helping the Program differentiate itself from other top-flight real estate programs around the country and around the globe.  Our goal is to help create a program that is the industry thought-leader, offers real estate solutions to some of the world’s problems, and whose students are sought after for not only their real estate knowledge, but also their character. 
  • We played a significant role in bringing Mark Eppli back to Madison, and we entered into a multi-year agreement, including financial support, so that the Program and our students continue (for a long time) to benefit from Mark’s expertise, practical and engaging style, and extensive connections in the industry.
  • We continue to advocate for a curriculum and faculty that prepare our students to meet the needs of employers their very first day on the job.
  • We contribute funds to facilitate, and we help organize, frequent student-alumni interaction and market tours.
  • We provide faculty financial support and student scholarships.
  • We plan and deliver periodic regional events, the Trends Conference, and the Biennial so that our members can not only stay informed and connected, but also build new and productive relationships.

We Need Your Support
To insure that WREAA has the financial resources to continue this impactful work, please become a member, renew your membership (or become a “Cornerstone” or “Sustaining” member!), attend the Biennial, become an alumni partner (details coming soon), ask your employer to partner with us or sponsor the upcoming Biennial, and|or make a contribution to the Wisconsin Connection Fund.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

Ontimistically Wisconsin!






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UW Real Estate Club's Spring Trip to Austin, TX!

Posted By Paige Riemann, Tuesday, March 17, 2020



On February 26, 2020, UW-Madison’s Real Estate Club had the opportunity to meet with local companies and alumni when they traveled to sunny Austin, Texas for their Spring Semester Trip. The group of undergraduate, MS, and MBA students, was accompanied by Joe Walsh, Faculty Associate of the Graaskamp Center. Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country right now, with 110 people moving to Austin everyday (Downtown Austin Alliance). This provided the students with an amazing opportunity to hear about how a city reacts to growth.


After arriving in Austin, the group gathered at Bangers Sausage House for a WREAA sponsored Networking Event to meet and socialize with Austin alumni. The group got to know one another, talk to alumni about relocating to Austin, and discussed the upcoming days. 


The next morning, they visited Realized Holdings where they were met by Chief Investment Officer and alumnus, Drew Reynolds (BBA 2003) and Founder and CEO, David Wieland. Wieland introduced Realized Holdings as “A market leader for managing investment property wealth by virtue of 103.  Realized Holdings is at the crossroads of technology, structured finance, real estate, and tax”. Reynolds  and Wieland discussed the future of real estate. They predict the real estate language will merge with the finance industry. The two also stated there is opportunity with quantifying risk and big data. Realized Holdings is quickly growing and recognizes that culture in the workplace needs to be a priority.

Following the presentation at Realized Holdings, the group visited the Downtown Austin Alliance, which works towards creating a downtown that meets the needs of the citizens and businesses in the Austin Downtown Public Improvement District. The REC was first met by Joel Sher, President at Congress Holdings Group (BBA 1980), a supporter of the Downtown Austin Alliance. Sher moved to Austin in the 80’s and has never looked back. They were also introduced to Dewitt Peart, President and CEO of the Downtown Austin Alliance. Peart discussed how the Alliance originally started with keeping the downtown clean and safe, and how that has evolved to meet the needs of the ever-growing city. They said currently their top two priorities are transportation and homelessness. He also discussed that all the Downtown Alliances in different cities across the country are not in competition with each other but instead share information and best practices. Michele Van Hyfte, Vice President of Urban Design, also spoke to the group. Van Hyfte talked about her background in architecture and sustainability. She explained that she believes in the effects of the triple bottom line and the importance of the built-natural-and social environments. After hearing from Van Hyfte, Jenell Moffett, Director of Research and Analysis, spoke about the importance of understanding real estate data and knowing how to use it. She also talked about the upcoming U.S. Census and how useful it will be for the Alliance to have the most up to date and accurate data.


After a fun afternoon meeting with the Downtown Austin Alliance, the REC met with Conor Byrne (BBA 2015), an Investments Analyst at Cielo Property Group. Byrne is originally from Austin, was an undergraduate at UW-Madison, and eventually moved back to Austin. He shared with the students that when he was in the Real Estate Club, their trip was also to Austin, and how meeting with them as an alum brought things full circle for him. Cielo Property Group is an Austin-based privately-owned commercial real estate investment and development company, that developed the mixed-use residential and office buildings, Foundry I and Foundry II,  that the REC toured. Foundry I & II are in Austin’s Eastside District and were completed in the summer of 2019. Meeting with Byrne provided an opportunity for students to hear about the development process behind creating the progressive mixed-use buildings.


That night, WREAA hosted a dinner for students and area alums at Bar Peached, located in the Clarksville neighborhood. Alumni and students talked about their trip so far and cheered on the Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball team as they beat Michigan.

The following morning, the club toured Lamar Union, a core mixed-use property in Austin developed by Greystar, where former WREAA media intern and Greystar Development Analyst, David Walsh (BBA 2018), and Senior Director, Nic Whittaker, met with the group. Since many students are familiar with Hub Madison, a Greystar property located in Madison, Wisconsin, this was an excellent opportunity for students to get further exposure to Greystar and learn about Lamar Union. They talked to the group about sourcing, zoning, their partnership with Stream, and the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. When discussing the meeting, Walsh said, “We enjoyed meeting with the Wisconsin Real Estate Club and discussing the lifecycle and challenges of a mixed-use development such as Lamar Union, as well as the many career opportunities with Greystar.”


For their final company visit, the group went to a panel made up of various employees from Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) coordinated by Thomas Maguire (BBA 2019), a Real Estate Investment Analyst for TRS. TRS is the largest pension fund in Texas and the 6th largest in the United States. They talked with the students about what it is like working for a pension fund and investing on behalf of the teachers of Texas to improve their retirement security. The panel also discussed the future changes they see for the industry. Part of the discussion focused on the fact that the leadership in the industry is aging, and how this will affect the industry in the future. The students also learned that the quality of information is getting better, and how they can leverage data and technology to improve their investment decisions.


The trip to Austin was a huge success. Real Estate student Kevin Ford (BBA 2021) said, “I was extremely impressed with the trip Mike and David put together. Connecting with alumni and hearing their insight into the industry was very beneficial. Learning about all the different ways our real estate degree can apply to a multitude of roles just reinforces why our program and alumni are so strong! These trips are what makes our club so special. The trips allow undergraduate and graduate students to connect in a setting outside of the classroom.”


To the Austin alumni, thank you for your warm welcome of the Real Estate Club and for introducing the students to the city of Austin. Thanks also to Real Estate Club Presidents, David Clark (MBA 2020) and Michael Crivello (MBA 2020) for organizing the trip. The efforts of all involved, made for an incredible opportunity for students to learn about the Austin market, and to get to know alumni.


We are looking forward to the Fall Semester Trip!

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Alumni Spotlight: Margaret DeWoskin

Posted By Paige Riemann, Saturday, February 29, 2020




WREAA Social Media Intern, Paige Riemann, interviewed Margaret DeWoskin (BBA 1992) about her career, her time at UW-Madison, and her advice for young women aspiring to be successful in the real estate industry. Margaret is currently the Senior Vice President for JDI Realty, LLC in Chicago. 

Can you tell us about your background and career path before your current role at JDI Realty?


I graduated from UW in 1992 as an undergrad in the real estate program. Following graduation, I went to Chicago to become an analyst at Richard Ellis, which was a predecessor of CBRE. When the two companies merged, a group of us went to Jones Lang Wootton which was a predecessor to JLL. I later received an offer from one of CBRE’s clients, Klaff Realty, which is a boutique real estate investment and development firm. I started in an analytical role and moved into acquisitions and asset management and was exposed to the full life cycle of real estate. We acquired predominantly retail assets and followed numerous corporations, like Montgomery Ward, through bankruptcies. Klaff pioneered the acquisitions through the tenant bankruptcy a path to get to the retailers’ real estate assets that were undervalued and required re-tenanting. That was a great experience. From there I took a turn into banking with a local real estate-oriented bank. I originated real estate bridge and construction loans across the country, many of which were sponsored by the opportunity fund investor that backed Klaff Realty. Following the bank, I joined ORIX Real Estate Capital, Inc. The then recently installed CEO was a former colleague from JLL. He took over in 2004 with the mission to restructure the company and deal with the problem assets. I eventually became the Chief Investment Officer and COO. It was during my time at ORIX, that I was named in the Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list. When the economy came crashing down in 2009 and ORIX moved their operation to Dallas, I stayed in Chicago. I went back into banking and special assets work for a different local bank, which today is Fifth Third Bank. I later became a partner in an advisory company that specialized in advising distressed banks and dealing with sub and non-performing loans and real estate. The private equity group that recapitalized Byline in 2013 was our largest client. When the acquisition closed, we merged our firm into the bank where I became the head of special assets. I saw that through to the point where the non-performing assets were largely worked through or sold in a bulk sale to a private equity firm. My goal was to move back to the principal side of real estate investing. I returned to Klaff Realty as the director of acquisitions. After spending a year at Klaff, I realized that the broader based real estate investing approach that JDI Realty (a real estate private equity firm) was pursuing was better suited for today’s market. I joined JDI as a senior vice president originating bridge debt and acquiring real estate assets primarily through joint ventures. 

Can you walk us through some of your duties in this position?


Founded 31 years ago, JDI Realty is a boutique real estate private equity firm. We originate structured bridge debt and invest with joint venture partners or directly to acquire value-add properties. We have invested in over $2 billion of real estate and originated over $1 billion in debt. I seek debt and equity opportunities to deploy our capital throughout the county in a wide variety of real estate asset classes.


How has your Wisconsin Network helped you in your career so far? 


In my final semester, before there was an online database, I took WREAA’s paper directory and began contacting alumni in New York and Chicago. Throughout the network, alumni of all levels of the industry open their doors and helped me ascertain numerous job offers. Fast forward 28 years later and I am still constantly connecting with fellow alums. Some of those are Wisconsin relationships that go back to the early 90’s, and others are new alums who have only been out for a few years. The Wisconsin network has been a constant influence throughout my career since the very beginning. The network’s breadth and depth and the participants wiliness to assist one another are endless.


What was your favorite memory from the program or REC?


My favorite memories are of the various intersessions, which were 3-week study abroad courses from the end of spring semester to the beginning of summer school. Professor Rod Matthew was the driving force behind the international trips. In 1992, we went to Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong. It was an amazing experience. We talked to a wide range of real estate developers, investors and bankers. A developer in Hong Kong took us up the construction hoist to the top floor of a high-rise that was under construction. We could see the whole Hong Kong Harbor. That is an experience that I still tell people about 29 years later. 


Who influenced you the most during your time at UW? 


There were many who influenced me at UW. Rod Matthews had one of the most profound effects. He taught the real estate law course, took us around the world, and was a Graaskamp original. He was close with Jim, and he embodied everything that the Graaskamp School of Real Estate was.   


Do you have any pieces of advice for aspiring young women in the Wisconsin Real Estate program? 


My advice is that women shouldn’t see themselves as any different in ability from men. I have never looked at life through the lens of male/female. I have always viewed the world as an open equal playing field. I think that has been very helpful in that I didn’t see anything as a job I couldn’t do, worried that somebody wouldn’t hire me, or felt I was in anyway disadvantaged versus a man. In my opinion, there is nothing that a man can do that a woman can’t. I would never shy away from an opportunity, because I thought I wasn’t qualified. I talk to different owners, developers, and investment advisors every day. It amazes me how few women are in those fields. I encourage women to pursue a career on the transaction side or the investment side of the business. I encourage other women to go out there and not just start as an analyst but continue their careers. Become the person who runs the deals or the group. There is no reason that you can’t run a fund or do whatever you want.


When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time? 


I still love traveling the way I did when I was in school, but now I do it with my family. Whether we are showing our kids Paris for the first time or traveling throughout the US and Canada, being with my family and traveling is my favorite combination.



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A Preview of Women In Real Estate's Spring Semester

Posted By Paige Riemann, Thursday, February 20, 2020




Women in Real Estate (WIRE), a student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, begins the second semester of what will be their third year at UW. WIRE was founded by alumni, Ali Petrick (BBA 2019) and Maddie Fricker (BBA 2019) with the goal of creating a community of women interested in the commercial real estate industry by hosting professional development, networking, and social opportunities for their members. Now, three years later, WIRE is excited to continue what Petrick and Fricker started with a semester packed with interesting speakers and field trips. 


After a successful welcome event where WIRE introduced themselves to incoming members, WIRE will have the opportunity to hear from Jack Price during the second meeting of the semester. Price is a broker from Cushman & Wakefield | Boerke with over thirty years of experience. He will share his knowledge of the industry and give attendees a look at the life of a broker. Later in the semester, Kristen Fish-Peterson, Principal and CEO at Redevelopment Resources and an Associate at Key Commercial Real Estate, will visit WIRE. This will be a unique opportunity for WIRE members to hear from a community impact consulting firm that focuses on transforming communities into destinations for businesses and visitors.  


The group is excited to assist in conducting a diversity panel event on Thursday, April 2nd. The event will be the first ever crossover event with the Real Estate Club (REC). Many WIRE members are in both student organizations, however, this is the first event that the two organizations have teamed up to coordinate.    


WIRE is also looking forward to its annual spring trip to Chicago to meet with several real estate employers. On Thursday, April 23, they will meet with JLL and Wells Fargo. Afterwards they will have dinner with recent WIRE alumni who have relocated to Chicago. They hope that this dinner will become a new WIRE tradition that will help the group remain connected to their past members. 


The following day, the group will meet with Allstate in the morning. Here former WIRE VP of Professional Activities, Claire Lommen (BBA 2019) will speak to the group about her career since graduating from UW-Madison. The group will then go to Heitman, where former WIRE President and current Organizational Analyst Director, Annie Trucco (BBA 2020), has accepted a full-time position. In the past, the spring Chicago trip has been an incredible opportunity for WIRE members to meet women in the industry and visit potential employers, so they are excited for the opportunity the 2020 trip will bring. 


WIRE has continued to make social events a priority, as one of its top goals is to foster friendships and a community between its members that will last through their careers. Social events planned for this semester are attending a yoga class, studying socials, and a dinner at the end of the semester.


WIRE is looking forward to another semester of fulfilling their mission, and they are grateful for all the incredible support from the real estate program, the Real Estate Club, WREAA, and the employers who are taking the time to meet with WIRE this semester. 

This semester, WIRE is led by an executive board comprised of Paige Riemann (BBA 2020), Nicole Steinmetz (BBA 2021), Annie Trucco (BBA 2020), Ava Wisniewski (BBA 2023), Sophie Stricker (BBA 2020), Sarah Kelly (BBA 2022), Lauren Mudlaff (BBA 2022), and Lilly Deprey (BBA 2022). The WIRE advisors are Genie Trewyn, Assistant Director of the Graaskamp Center, and Lee Gottschalk, the Outreach Director of the Graaskamp Center. For more information, please visit the WIRE website at
https://www.womeninrealestateuw.com/. To contact WIRE, please email the President, Paige Riemann, at womeninrealestate.uw@gmail.com.

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UW Real Estate Club students attend Spring Career Fair

Posted By Paige Riemann, Tuesday, February 18, 2020



On Monday, February 10th, over 25 employers came to UW for the spring semester Real Estate Club Career Fair to meet with dozens of undergraduate and MBA students to make connections and discuss employment opportunities.

The event was organized by students, Tan Tran (MBA 2020), and Connor McCarthy (BBA 2020). The duo also organized the first ever fall semester Career Fair, where over 45 companies were present. In total over 70 companies came from all over the country and various areas of the industry to meet our students this school year. 

Tran explained the decision to add the Fall Career Fair to the REC roster of events, "This year is the first year that the REC has organized a Career Fair for both the spring and fall.  Organizing the two career fairs brings many benefits to our students, including fostering our program’s competitive advantage and increasing student connections to the real estate markets."


The Spring Career Fair was held on campus at Union South, and started with a networking session with hor d’oeuvres at high-top tables where employers and students were able to meet one another. Then, the group ate dinner together before the Career Fair, to further get to know one another while enjoying a delicious meal. 

Next students shared their elevator pitches and resumes with the employers who had set up booths in the Varsity Room. Afterwards, the employers and students attended a Reception and cocktail hour at The Sett at Union South. 

Junior and Career Fair organizer, Connor McCarthy says “As UW-Madison students, we are incredibly fortunate that employers go out of their way to attend the career fair every year. It speaks to the strength of our real estate program and our robust alumni network. We are privileged to have an amazing team in the career services office that works diligently to meet the career needs of both students and employers. Because we are so fortunate, students should  prepare as much as possible for the career fair and give back to the school after we graduate whether it’s through WREAA or some other means.”

Overall, the spring semester Real Estate Club Career Fair was a great success. Thank you to all of the employers who came to the Career Fair to discuss opportunities with our students. 


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UW Real Estate Club's Spring Semester Kickoff

Posted By Paige Riemann, Friday, February 14, 2020


To kickoff the Spring Semester of UW Real Estate Club, the student organization hosted their first meeting on February 6th featuring Alissa Adler (MS 1999), Senior Vice President of Colliers | Chicago for their Office Capital Markets Team. Adler has over thirty years of experience nationwide in various areas of the industry, with over $1.2 billion transacted over the course of her career. Before working at Colliers, she was a leader in the Middle Market Investment Advisory Team at Podolsky Circle CORFAC International. Adler is also an Honoree of Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Commercial Real Estate and Bisnow’s 2018 Chicago Power Women of Commercial Real Estate. 

At the meeting, she had great advice for students as they prepare for interviews and employment. This was especially helpful for our students to hear at this time, because of the Career Fair on February 10th, where over 25 employers shared opportunities with our students. 

Adler discussed that you need to know yourself in order to maximize your skills, to eventually find the job that is right for you. Although she believes that you should not rule a career position out, she recommends that if you are aware of where your personality fits into the industry, that you focus your time in that sector. She said students should also consider whether they want to work for a big company or a small company, or if their company allows and/or encourages individuals to invest in real estate. All important things for students to think about when looking for employment. 

She also shared interviewing tips. She stressed the importance of a typo-free resume, quick response time when communicating with companies, the importance of both a thank-you note and a clean social media presence. She recommended that students join student organizations, such as the Real Estate Club, and that they start building a database of business cards with notes on how they met each person.

Freshman, Ava Wisniewski valued the meeting and said “Real Estate Club speakers are always well-spoken and able to share so much about their experience. I love when they bring in women from the industry because they have a different perspective on things. Alissa Adler had fantastic advice for the club regarding interview etiquette and resume building. As a freshman, hearing tips from speakers and learning about the different career paths you can take in real estate are what I benefit from the most. I learn something new about the industry every meeting.”

Lastly, Adler spoke that as professionals and people-all we have is our time and our integrity, a value that the UW Real Estate program places great importance on. 

The meeting was a great start to the Spring Semester. Next, the REC looks forward to their bi-annual field trip, where they will travel to Austin, Texas. 

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